11 posts Page 1 of 2

I have a question regarding consumption of vitamin D supplements whilst pregnant. I have just had a follow up with my neuro today and he has specifically told me NOT to take Vit.D during pregnancy, but this goes against all that I read here, OMS site and in the book, on Dr Thomas Hale’s website/book (researcher on meds and breastfeeding/pregnancy) and other vitamin D pages/sites/advocacies … now, I am well confused.

My blood test from two weeks ago was 68nmol with everything else normal, and even though my GP and neuro say that this is within the healthy range (for healthy people), I believe it is not, especially for us living with MS. I am shocked my levels are so low, but kind of expected it, and it makes a lot of sense that I am so low - no pun intended ;)

I am under the impression that it would take a lot, A LOT, to overdose on vit D and have any adverse reactions, but is there a difference to when one is pregnant?

I believe I’ll need to take a fair bit to get my levels up to an optimal level for MS, is a megadose safe in pregnancy? I am yet to see my GP to ask advice and for a script for one, as I didn’t bother asking my neuro – he didn’t seem open to it, even to the point of saying that my diet was healthy with no need for change - he is right, I do/did have a relatively healthy diet, albeit with some dairy and meat.

My neuro has given me a script for the 1000IU units, to take one a day, AFTER pregnancy, and that 1000 a day will take me up to, “oh around 90-95(nmol)”, I quote my neuro here - these I can get ‘over-the-counter’ (though with Medicare levies/etc…a script is good), but can one get a script for 5000 units or so, here in Australia? I’ve seen on this website links to where to purchase higher doses, as here off the shelf all I find is 1000.

I’ve learnt that as much as I respect and trust my neuro with my MS, I should keep some of my opinions and beliefs to myself – like with the majority of people in my life. It comes down to this, 1/ my neuro is fantastic, when it comes to basic MS maintenance (and he saved me big time, earlier this year, when I had the most major and rare episode), but this is all I will use his appointments for and 2/ I am on the lookout for a GP who will support any CAMs etc that I wish to pursue. I believe it is about not working against the specialist/doctor, but to find one that supports you and you are able to work with.

Anyway, I have digressed - it has been a big week, and an even bigger year – I’d love to hear some feedback on Vitamin D and pregnancy, megadoses etc, I like to collect as much info and opinions before I make my own, informed, choices. I am aware there was a thread about this late last year, but any new insights?

Thank you so much,

Lulu, please search the site for the answers you are looking for. Your questions have been asked before and answers are there for the finding.

Please look at this News article for the benefits of sunlight during pregnancy: http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/News-And-Events/Whats-New-Out-There/Detail/Lack+of+sun+exposure+during+pregnancy+raises+MS+risk+in+offspring/

Here's a topic in this forum 'High dose vitamin d3 dangerous during prenancy? : http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/Community/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=590
Thank you, Lisa, for the reply.

My apologies, for some reason I thought I read the date of the 'High dose vitamin d3 dangerous during prenancy?' as being from 2009, my bad. I had just thought that there might have been some new opinions since then.

I have searched this site for info, the article, yep, cool. I believe George had mentioned in the forum thread that there isn't really any studies done on this subject.

Oh well.

Think I will keep searching for further info and opinions elsewhere also.

You know the Professor first put together his findings about 10 years ago and all of his findings keep getting validated over the years, with every new RCT and Research paper that comes out. It is easy to get lost and spend a lot of time searching and researching on the internet, but you already have all the answers here.

Not only do you have the culmination of 10 years research sitting on this Website and in the Professor's book, written by an esteemed authority that 'walks the talk', but you have a whole network of kindred spirits within these forums who have many same experiences and who all report very similar findings.

I hope that you will feel more confident to be happy with the answers already presented here.

I am feeling rather uncomfortable with your replies. I feel as though I am asking stupid questions (and I know that I am NOT stupid!), but your replies are not very helpful to someone who is experiencing some very major brain fatigue (ie. me), and reading something off one website, albeit from the mind of a medical professor, to me, is just not good enough to follow with blind faith. I feel as though I have wasted valuable website space now, for this I apologise, but I will not apologise for wanting clarification.

The doctors and specialists I see, face to face, tell me quite the opposite to George Jelinek – now this does not mean that I do not believe or trust George’s findings, 10 years or more, but when I am not face to face, or actually conversing with a medical professional, I like to gather info from many sources – this, I do not believe to be too much of a hindrance to my own self. Really, who in their right mind would trust the info from one source and one source only? I do not believe George himself would, and if he did, well, that doesn’t say a lot for his research then.

I am very happy to trust Thomas Hale’s findings on medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding (MS aside) to a point, as he releases a new book yearly with his findings/research. I am, personally, unable to trust just one person’s opinion, especially when it comes to my own health and when I have to prove to the people around me that this is a safe and viable road to take (ie OMS), when what the un-learned know is all that western and government doctors tell us – we all grew up with milk in school and to eat a chop to get some iron, it makes it hard.

What am I supposed to do, when my neurologist, who is managing my MS, tells me to NOT take vitamin D? Who do I believe, him, who I see face to face, or George, who you say stated these facts over 10 years ago and are only now being validated? I personally like to see the validation, and I appreciate that we do have access to some of these findings. Is it not up to us, the individual, to be our own advocate?

My concern here is that my vitamin D levels are so low, and now, my conclusion is that I do not take a megadose, and I do not take larger quantities, until after I am pregnant/breastfeeding. It is really confusing when there is so much conflicting information out there, and I cannot get a straight yes or no from the doctors I pay to see, on the amounts that are safe for pregnancy.

My sincerest apologies, for asking such an obviously pointless question. One of the main reasons I never come onto forums much, is the fact that I find it hard to write succinctly, when my mind is racing…something about my MS, the medications I have been on and all the hormones running around my body as we type…unless I spend hours writing and editing something, I often don’t ‘chat’ and this is not conducive to forum conversation. I never thought that asking such a question on an MS forum would be so bad.

Thank you for this website. And thank you George for all you have done. I am not being ungrateful, I’m just finding it hard to accept the word of one person, professional or not.

I truly hope everyone continues to Be Well.

Hi Lulu

I find this very difficult myself. I really don't like to be in the position of advising people to do something their doctor has told them not to do, and I wouldn't expect you to do that. I can only present the information that is out there, and let you make up your own mind.

The important thing about this question is that it is about the risk of the child developing MS as an adult, and much less about your health, as pregnancy is very protective for you. As you know, children of people with MS have around 40-80x the risk of getting MS as others in the population. That is a very high risk. Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy is recommended to lower that risk. In my view, the evidence now is very clear that vitamin D supplementation lowers the risk of getting MS throughout life. This has been shown in a number of studies including the Nurses Health Study. The evidence base around supplementation in utero is growing rapidly. There has been much published about the risks of developing MS related to season of birth. The most recent paper on this was published just in April from Melbourne, from the Murdoch Chidrens Research Institute, from Anne-Louise Ponsonby's group. Here is the link to the full paper:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... ool=pubmed

Their last paragraph sums up the situation well:

"The findings here provide the first population based evidence beyond month of birth patterns to indicate that vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of multiple sclerosis might also need to be considered during in utero development."

Chaudhuri, a Glasgow neurologist, was probably the first to strongly advocate this in 2005:

Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):608-18.
Why we should offer routine vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy and childhood to prevent multiple sclerosis.
Chaudhuri A.

Department of Neurology, Institute of Neurological Sciences, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK. ac54@udcf.gla.ac.uk
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that runs a chronic course and disables young people. The disease is more prevalent in the geographic areas that are farthest from the equator. No form of treatment is known to be effective in preventing MS or its disabling complications. A number of epidemiological studies have shown a protective effect of exposure to sunlight during early life and a recent longitudinal study confirmed that vitamin D supplementation reduced life-time prevalence of MS in women. Very little is known regarding the role of vitamin D on the developing brain but experimental data suggest that cerebral white matter is vitamin D responsive and oligodendrocytes in the brain and spinal cord and express vitamin D receptors. It is possible that differentiation and axonal adhesion of oligodendrocytes are influenced by vitamin D level during brain development and a relative lack of vitamin D may increase oligodendroglial apoptosis. The age effect of migration on susceptibility to develop MS could be explained by a role of vitamin D on brain development. In areas of high MS prevalence, dietary supplementation of vitamin D in early life may reduce the incidence of MS. In addition, like folic acid, vitamin D supplementation should also be routinely recommended in pregnancy. Prevention of MS by modifying an important environmental factor (sunlight exposure and vitamin D level) offers a practical and cost-effective way to reduce the burden of the disease in the future generations.

In my view, the only question is what dose of vitamin D. Many neurologists are not really familiar with dosages for vitamin D supplementation, as they do not use this in any of the other neurological diseases they manage. There is also a widespread irrational fear in medicine about overdosage of this naturally occurring hormone. Consider that if you step outside in any Perth city at the moment with only a bathing suit on for around 5 minutes at midday, you will make 15,000IU of vitamin D immediately. Why would you be told not to take 1,000IU then? How could that be toxic?

This is probably one of the few papers that really makes a recommendation about doses during pregnancy.


Hollis in one of the world experts on vitamin D. PubMed him and you will find he has published 202 papers on vitamin D in the world's best journals. The abstract is as follows:

J Bone Miner Res. 2007 Dec;22 Suppl 2:V39-44.
Vitamin D requirement during pregnancy and lactation.
Hollis BW.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Nutritional Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
The current recommended dietary requirement for vitamin D intake (200 IU/d) during pregnancy and lactation is based on little, if any, scientific evidence, and as a result is clinically irrelevant with respect to maintaining nutritional vitamin D status during these demanding human conditions. Current research has shown that the actual dietary requirement during pregnancy and lactation may actually be as high as 6000 IU/d. Current data on which these new recommendations could be based are presented.

I agree with you. Don't just take other people's advice. Look into this yourself. My motivation in presenting this data is that, having seen my mother die with advanced MS, I want to see good preventive measures in place to stop it occurring if at all possible in those at high risk. Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy is a critical part of this strategy; it is cheap, safe, and almost certainly effective. One would have to ask oneself why not do it....

I really hope that helps. There is much, much more literature to wade through if you want to take it further. I suggest starting with the references to the papers above.

Be well

Just out of interest Lulu, here is one of Hollis's latest papers, showing how widespread vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy is:

Am J Perinatol. 2010 Jul 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficiency is Common during Pregnancy.
Johnson DD, Wagner CL, Hulsey TC, McNeil RB, Ebeling M, Hollis BW.

Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.
The objective was to determine the incidence of vitamin D deficiency, insufficiency, and sufficiency in African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian pregnant women. Blood samples were taken from 154 African-American, 194 Hispanic, and 146 Caucasian women at <14 weeks of gestation; 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels (25(OH)D) levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. The mean 25(OH)D levels in African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian pregnant women were 15.5 +/- 7.2 (standard deviation), 24.1 +/- 8.7, 29.0 +/- 8.5 ng/mL, respectively. Ninety-seven percent of African-Americans, 81% of Hispanics, and 67% of Caucasians were deficient (25(OH)D levels <20 ng/mL or <50 nmol/L) or insufficient (25(OH)D levels >/=20 ng/mL or <32 ng/mL or >/=50 nmol/L or <80 nmol/L). Of these pregnant women, 82% had vitamin D levels <32 ng/mL (<80 ng/mL). In logistic regression models, race was the most important risk factor for vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. African-American women and Hispanic women were more likely to have vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency than Caucasian women. Furthermore, primigravid women were more at risk for vitamin D insufficiency. This study demonstrates widespread vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in pregnant females living at a southern latitude. African-Americans are at greatest risk.

It is likely this is contributing not only to growing rates of MS around the world, but type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

Be well

And I would just like to add that I am so sorry if my short and succinct replies have made you feel at all negative. There is quite a lot to do with the management of this website along with all the other chores and duties in daily life and I often do not get the time to reply as fully as I would like, it can be very frustrating.

Please forgive me if my responses to you came across badly, they were not meant to. We pride ourselves in having established a platform for a thriving network of kindred spirits that enjoy exchanges of knowledge, experience, good times and bad and I am chagrined that I have been the instrument of some discord with you.

I also want to say that, sadly, many doctors and neurologists do not agree with some of the recommendations listed here, despite more and more clinical evidence that supports what we promote. It is frustrating and confusing, and it will be judgement call on your part as to whom you place your trust in.
Oh my, I have had a day to myself, to think, I have had so much going on of late that I am feeling really rather disgruntled with the medical system. I did not come here to ask for “the answer”, but I have kind of reacted as though I really wanted that, make sense? I perhaps should not seek advice when I am not feeling emotionally strong enough to take the direction offered ;)

I have had a run of bad luck with GPs of late, from sudden retiring to blatantly telling me that it was a waste of time to do a vitamin D test and that I should just accept my MS dx, it has not been very good for ones psyche. I am still on the lookout for a good GP, one who I can work with, and hopefully continue to see for some time.

George, thank you so much for your advice and time. I’ll never stop looking into things more, but I am feeling more comfortable with my decisions now, after a day to think. And it is my life, so it is my decision. I am confident that my conclusions are similar and float around those of Hollis’s, etc.

I was diagnosed with RRMS 5 years ago, and have had a relatively symptom free course since then, until this year. I had a relapse earlier this year, scared me so much, a Tumefactive lesion which left me paralysed for 3 months, that I have overcome (to a point - I could be a LOT worse off), with the use of many, many steroids (and my emotions are still just coming around to normal), and only by chance did I come across OMS during this time. Oh my, from under very unfortunate circumstances, George, you have been a light of hope and more to many many people, and I am most definitely one of these people.

You too, Lisa - all moderators, admins and forum members do a wonderful job in sharing info, advice and support. I am very aware of how draining such a position can be, especially when you have very emotional people (me) having a good rant. Lisa, I did not mean to attack, I am just a very up front person with how I am feeling, I never wish to make someone feel uneasy :oops:

I’ve been having 5000 units a day (vit D) for a few months now, and as of 2 weeks ago when I was tested, my level was way too low in my opinion (first time I have ever tested my levels). I’ve not yet had an initial megadose, and perhaps I’ll put off that for until later now. However, I do feel, in my heart, that it is still right for me to continue to take up to 5000 units daily, during my pregnancy, for the benefit of both myself and babe.

One of the main reasons I wanted to increase my own vitamin D level, is not just for my own health benefit, but more so for the sake of the child I am now carrying. I am very aware of the significant increase to family members of those with MS, with offspring at the top, I believed that I needed to have optimal levels for any benefit of supplementing to help in the development of my baby - maybe this thought is not entirely true.

My almost 2 year old did not get any extra vitamin D whilst in utero, and as much as I have been diligent to ensure she gets regular doses of sunlight each day, since birth, I’ve never looked into supplementing for toddlers, or had her levels tested (? eek).

It is time I start to get proactive in the management of not only my MS, but with my family to help all I can to possibly prevent such an outcome for my children.

I will stop rambling on now and next time I have a question I’ll get to the point straight away, well, I’ll try to ;)
Just so you know - We have just had a child, mum doesn't have MS but I do.
We have been following the programme and supplimenting Vit D throughout the pregnancy.

Mum had a great pregnancy, no morning sickness or many of the other common complaints. Baby was born 4 weeks early (lack of Vit D can contribute to pre-term I hear) though she is very healthy and was pretty much full term weight (3.2kg)

I read that Ricketts may be on the rise in NZ?

The other gotcha is what to do about vaccinations... thats a whole other kettle of fish.
11 posts Page 1 of 2

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests